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maggio 27, 2018 - Yamaha Racing

Van der Mark and Yamaha Make History in WorldSBK Race 1 at Donington Park

Comunicato Stampa disponibile solo in lingua originale. 

Race

It was a historic Saturday at Round 6 of the 2018 Motul FIM World Superbike Championship at #donington Park for Pata Yamaha Official #worldsbk Team's #michaelvandermark as the flying Dutchman stormed to his maiden #worldsbk victory in Race 1 after a sensational ride. Starting from 6th on the grid, he battled at the front throughout the race before taking the lead on lap 15 and showing blistering pace to secure the first ever #worldsbk victory for a Dutch rider, plus the first for Yamaha since its return to #worldsbk in 2016. It was a fitting way to celebrate the team's home round and local hero #alexlowes added to their joy by finishing in fourth after a superb ride. Wildcard #niccolocanepa did not have the best feeling with his R1 but showed excellent fighting spirit to battle hard and bring home a 20th-place finish.

After the torrential rain and high winds that had affected Friday at #donington Park, Saturday saw an upturn in the weather with no sight of rain and track temperatures rising to 30°C for Race 1. The last time Yamaha had tasted victory in the #worldsbk Championship came in Race 2 at Portimao in 2011 at the penultimate round of the season, before Yamaha spent four seasons away from the class. Since their return in 2016 with the Pata Yamaha team, they have gone on to secure ten podiums although victory had managed to escape their grasp but all of that was about to change on Saturday at #donington Park!

Van der Mark ended Friday's practice in sixth overall but his crew made a few minor changes to his Pata Yamaha R1 overnight and, aided by the better conditions, he immediately improved his pace to finish the morning's FP4 session in fourth with a 1:28.180. When it came to SP2, he found another step, improving by 0.708s to set a 1:27.472 and qualify in sixth for Race 1 but the best was yet to come. When the lights went out, the 25-year-old Dutch rider got his trademark blistering start and was up to fourth by the first corner. He then enjoyed a good battle with his teammate Lowes, passing him before they started lap 2 and setting his sights on Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes ahead of him. Never letting the two Kawasaki's getaway, his pace improved as the race went on. The pressure he was exerting on the front two began to tell as the race progressed and they were struggling to keep van der Mark at bay. On lap 13, a small mistake by Rea left the tiniest of gaps for him to take advantage of and the 2014 WorldSSP Champion did not need a second invitation.

Up next was pole-man Sykes but van der Mark made short work of him too, pulling off another super overtaking manoeuvre at the Melbourne Hairpin on lap 15. With a clear track ahead of him, he 'pulled the pin' and showed his true race pace, opening up a one second advantage over Sykes in just one lap. Controlling his lead beautifully, not even a late charge by Rea could shake van der Mark out of his rhythm and he kept his cool to secure his maiden #worldsbk victory by 1.136s. In the process, he rewrote the record books by becoming the first Dutch rider to ever win a #worldsbk race, plus it also saw Yamaha return to the top step of the podium for the first time in just under seven years and he was the first non-British rider to win at #donington Park since 2012. It was just reward for the commitment shown by the whole Pata Yamaha team have put in over the last three seasons and the 25 points van der Mark collected means he is now fourth in the #worldsbk Championship standings with 138 points, just 15 points behind Sykes in third. He will line up in ninth on the grid for Sunday's Race 2, hoping to repeat his Race 1 heroics.

Local hero Lowes has shown great pace all weekend, ending Friday's practice in fourth overall, before improving in FP4 to set a 1:28.097, which was good enough for third on the timesheets. The 27-year-old British rider loves #racing in front of the British fans and he managed to find another 0.675s in SP2 to qualify in the middle of the second row ahead of his teammate. When the lights went out for Race 1, the 2013 British Superbike Champion got a blistering start, riding around the outside at Turn 1 to move up into third. Duelling with his teammate on the opening lap, he did not quite have the same feeling with his Pata Yamaha R1 as van der Mark but bravely fought to try and stay with the leading trio. Sticking on his teammate's back wheel, he rode superbly before, just over halfway through the race, it became obvious he was losing out on corner exit and maturely decided that it was not worth risking pushing over the limit to try and stay with the podium battle, bringing his R1 home in a strong fourth-place and securing 13 championship points. Lowes is now seventh in the overall standings with 105 points and will start Race 2 from pole position, confident that with a few small changes, he will be able to fight for victory.

Official Test Rider #niccolocanepa is featuring as a wildcard at #donington Park this weekend and after ending Friday in 14th overall he just couldn't quite gel with his bike on Saturday in the warmer conditions. Readjusting to the Pata Yamaha machine after riding the endurance-spec GMT94 Yamaha R1 to second at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring two weeks ago, the 30-year-old Italian would have preferred more dry-track time on Friday, but undeterred he ended Saturday's FP4 in 22nd and qualified for Race 1 in 24th. During the race, he gave it his all but could not find a great rhythm, although he pushed as hard as he could to cross the line in 20th place. Canepa will work hard with his team overnight to try and find an improvement and the reigning Endurance World Champion is determined to fight back in Race 2 on Sunday from the back of the eighth row.

After a simply amazing day for the Pata Yamaha Official #worldsbk Team at #donington on Saturday, they are ready to do it all again on Sunday. The action kicks off at 9:45 am local time (GMT+1) with Warm Up, while the 23-lap Race 2 is due to start at 1:00 pm.